Changing Channels

March 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’m writing this while listening to the Disquietude podcast, discovered via a Warren Ellis tweet. Disquietude’s raison d’etre is to share ambient music, something I’m just beginning to explore (again, thanks to Warren Ellis, and mostly as a way to block out noise in the office). Trying a new thing and, so far, finding it compliments the writing process pretty well.

The morning drive to work was Billy Joel on the iPod. Normally, I listen to classical music, but this morning, I felt like revisiting the music of my middle-school years. A lyric from “Close to the Borderline” jumped out at me:

I got remote control and a color T.V.
I don’t change channels so they must change me

I tend to stay in bubbles with other like-minded individuals. Geeks, liberals, Browncoats, gamers — these are my tribes.

Bubbles can be safe spaces, allowing me to push the world away awhile, relax, breathe. We all need to slip into a comfortable bubble now and then.

But bubbles and tribes can quickly become echo chambers. I have to remind myself that it’s good to step outside them now and then, change the channel, try new things. Be aware of what’s going on, even if I don’t like what I see and hear.

So, I’m reprogramming this old-dog brain, or trying to. Changing the channels, and not letting them change me.


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Swords into Plowshares

March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

The story goes that my grandfather — my mother’s father — served in the army in World War I, and for part of that time, he guarded German prisoners of war in (or very near) Paris.

While in France, he purchased a pair of binoculars, which were passed along to me at some point. They look like they’ve been through a war: chipped paint, a bent shade, a cracked lens, a wonky focus wheel.

He also brought back a trio of what at first glance seem to be brass vases. They are, in fact, artillery shell casings. « Read the rest of this entry »

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